US trade tsar warns scrap­ping TPP car­ries ‘se­ri­ous costs’

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man warned of “se­ri­ous” strate­gic and eco­nomic costs from scrap­ping a ma­jor trans-Pa­cific trade deal Fri­day, as pro­po­nents lob­bied hard to over­come pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s op­po­si­tion. Ac­knowl­edg­ing that the fate of the 12-na­tion Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship agree­ment, or TPP, is now largely out of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s hands, Fro­man in­di­cated he would con­tinue to make the case that the deal is good for Amer­ica.

“We are ob­vi­ously at a point in time where this is a leg­isla­tive process to get TPP through and it’s re­ally up to the Con­gres­sional lead­er­ship to de­ter­mine if, when and how it’s go­ing to move for­ward,” he said. “It’s a po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion for them to make.”

“Our ar­gu­ment is that in­ac­tion poses se­ri­ous costs” he added, cit­ing a re­cent study sug­gest­ing fail­ure would cost the US econ­omy around $94 bil­lion in the first year alone. Trade deals such as TPP and the 1993 North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment fea­tured heav­ily in the bru­tal US elec­tion cam­paign and many see Trump’s vic­tory as a re­pu­di­a­tion of ever-deeper com­mer­cial ties. Nei­ther Trump nor his Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton sup­ported TPP dur­ing the cam­paign. Free-trade sup­port­ers say the deals were made a scape­goat for the so­cial and eco­nomic dis­rup­tions caused by au­to­ma­tion and other far more po­tent trends. — AFP

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